Adam Wright hiked the Parque Nacional La Campana when he visited Chile in 2014. Photo provided.

Friends Remember Adam Wright's Smile

Submitted 2 years ago
Created by
Katy Savage

Dartmouth College student Adam Wright, a quiet leader who loved languages and learning, died last week. He was 21.

Wright was found dead on the shoreline of the Connecticut River Jan. 31 after he was reported missing the morning before. Foul play isn't suspected, Hanover police said. said. Autopsy results could take up to eight weeks.

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“Adam...will be remembered as a quiet soul and a good friend,”  said Dartmouth President Phil Hanlon in a statement.

Wright was the grandson of President Emeritus Jim Wright who is credited with building a more inclusive and diverse student and faculty body during his presidency from 1998 to 2009.

Wright’s family has deep ties to Dartmouth.

Wright’s father, also named Jim, graduated from the Dartmouth Tuck School of Business. Wright’s brother, Zachary, graduated from Dartmouth in 2015.

Attempts to contact the Wrights weren’t successful.

Those who knew Adam Wright said he was like his grandfather. He cared deeply for others and was there when you needed him. He always wore a smile.

“Adam had all of Jim Wright’s gentle soul qualities,” said Patty Hanchett, a Dartmouth employee who worked with Wright in the dining hall.

Wright was a member of the class of 2017, where he studied government. He was a devoted student who already landed a job at an international consulting company in New York this summer.

Wright was president of the International Business Council and a member of the Beta Alpha Omega Fraternity. He loved learning so much he taught himself languages. He was fluent in French and Spanish, proficient in Chinese and studying Japanese. Wright's passion to learn about the world took him to Chile in the summer of 2014, where he worked for a senator.

“He was a very mature guy for his age,” said Steve Eberly, Wright’s French teacher at Contestoga High School in Berwyn, Pennsylvania.

Despite their age difference, 18 and 60 at the time, Wright and Eberly spoke on an equal basis. They stayed in touch after Wright graduated from high school. Wright organized get-togethers and outings where the two conversed in French.

At 6’ 6,” friends say Wright was tall and “goofy.” He was quiet but outgoing and could make friends with anybody.

“He had the most diverse group of friends,” said Collier Pruner, Wright’s fraternity brother.

Kelsey Sipple, a Dartmouth student who graduated last year, said Wright sat with her in the library and helped her through the stress of being a student.

“He was tender and goofy and hard not to adore,” Sipple said. “He was one of those boys that Dartmouth never changed or made worse. He was just a really great kid and never lost what made him great.”

What they remember most is Wright's smile. 

“He was a super happy person,” said Joseph Amoroso who worked with Wright at ‘53 Commons, the Dartmouth dining hall.

Unafraid to work hard, Wright and his older brother Zachary both scrubbed dishes in the kitchen a few shifts a week.

“They were kind of of the same mold-come in, work hard, leave,” said Gordon Wright, their supervisor, who is not related despite sharing the same last name.

Wright was especially liked among longtime kitchen staff who remember how they were treated under Jim Wright’s presidency.

“From the custodial staff all the way up to the professors-there was no difference to Jim Wright. He treated everybody with respect,” said Sherry Poirier, an employee in the dining hall.  “I believe that is instilled in his grandchildren.”

Wright worked in the dining hall for three years until he stopped because of his hefty course load, Gordon said.

Gordon last spoke with Wright a few weeks ago when he came into the dining hall to grab some dessert.

“He said he had a good break, got some needed rest,” said Gordon, a typical response.

Wright’s death impacted the entire Dartmouth community and faculty. New Hampshire Congresswoman Annie Kuster, a family friend, was also affected.

"As the mother of two recent Dartmouth graduates and an alumna myself, I share in the Dartmouth community’s pain during this difficult time,” Kuster said in a statement.

The Dartmouth College flag flew at half-mast on Friday. Last Wednesday, about 200 people gathered on the lawn outside the Beta Alpha Omega house, stood shoulder to shoulder and sang the Alma Mater. They shared a moment of silence for their friend.

Wright is survived by his grandparents, James and Susan DeBevoise Wright of Hanover, his parents James (Jim) and Carreen Wright of Berwyn, PA, and his brother Zachary as well as Joan Smith of New Haven, CT, and Tom and Sass Dodd of Charlestown, RI.


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